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Got content?

It’s time to stop pretending that your content is achieving results because it’s AWESOME, and start listening.

First listen to the business; figure out what it needs to say, and who it needs to talk to. Listen to your intended audience, find out where they are and what they’re already talking about. The very best content campaigns are designed to move seamlessly into existing conversations, so you need to know what these conversations are before you get creative.

There are dozens of applications designed precisely for this purpose, from Radian 6 and Simply Measured, to BuzzNumbers and Sprout Social, not to mention the backend social analytics systems Facebook, Twitter and Google offer. You can track all kinds of behaviours from the number of return website visitors, to positive brand mentions online. You can measure net promoter scores, customer satisfaction rates, leads and sales, visitors, subscribers, inquiries and closed deals. Most importantly you can increasingly follow conversations to find out what people are saying, as well as knowing where they’re saying it.

It’s always worth taking the time to get to know your audience; who they are, where they are and what they’re saying. This data provides you with the base to measure your progress and evaluate your success, and empowers you develop content with a clear purpose with results you can track. If you want your content approach to stand the test of time you need to ensure it’s backed up with a strong audience-focused strategy that can be measured and reported on.

And it’s not enough anymore to talk about hits and eyeballs – if your audience isn’t engaging, your content is missing the mark.

People used to sit in front of the TV and read the newspaper when it was the only option. It was a passive kind of content consumption where people expected to be entertained, with humour, shock or excellent storytelling – but they never expected to talk back. When these same people go online they expect something slightly different; they want to be involved and informed. No one really goes online to sit back and laugh at your ad, they want to lean in, enjoy the content, and then comment or share it with others.

Traditional media is about ‘leaning back’ and passively receiving information and entertainment, new media is about ‘leaning in’ and actively engaging with content, which brings us back to the importance of listening. Content is no longer broadcast – it’s conversational and iterative – and needs to have feedback integrated into the creative process; listen, create, repeat – and you won’t go wrong.

 

 

 

 

Brand perception – Lets Talk About It

We believe your brand should be at the core of everything you do, your people and customers should understand it inside out. But what is branding? In this blog we get under the skin of what branding is all about…

Branding – more than just a logo

The bite out of an apple, a tick, a black and white panda… iconic logos are easily identified all over the world. The charity WWF instantly brings to mind the famous panda. An eye-catching, simplistic logo that perfectly sums up their mission to ensure nature and people can live in harmony with each other. But branding is a lot more than a recognisable logo. Branding is the heart of a company, its personality, its values, its beliefs. The customer promise and the journey it takes to seal the deal.

Is your brand serious or funny?

We connect with people whose personality traits appeal to us, and it’s the same with brands. Is your company shy or confident, serious or funny, outdoorsy or city life? First impressions are significant for lasting relationships and getting these personality traits right is key. These unique characteristics need to come through in every customer interaction, from website experience to answering the phone.

A simple exercise to try…

What are the first three words that come into your mind to express your company?

We chewed this over with two well known brands:

 

 

  • Apple = innovative, intuitive, cool

And next

  • Pukka = sustainable, delicious, wellbeing

This quickly unveils the ethos of these brands. Apple and Pukka have succeeded in their mission, their brand expresses their values beautifully.

Influencing choice and creating loyalty

Brand helps to influence the many choices that bombard us on a daily basis. It’s a hot day, you’re shopping for bottled water. With thirst your main motivator, and little to differentiate bottled water, how do you decide which water brand to pick from the vast array on offer? Your decision will be based on your perception and connection with the brand.

Popular bottled water brand Evian have quickly set themselves apart from other brands by offering the customer a compelling story. Committing to protect the water resource and never taking out more than nature gives, and reducing the environmental impact of their bottle production. Brand values that resonate with the customer, start to revolutionise how we make our choices, and create loyalty.

And it’s no different for big ticket items, like a car. The main goal is to get from A to B. But brand then starts to influence choice.

BMW are known for their high performance cars, but since the explosion of the electric car market, BMW has created a sustainability philosophy. Not only producing emission free cars, but also using recycled materials in their manufacturing. A clever way for the brand to widen its appeal and green credentials, while not compromising on its goal of increasing driving pleasure.

And brand loyal customers are reliable repeat purchasers, they will advocate your company via word of mouth to the masses.

Delivering your promises

Your brand is essentially your customer promise. And fulfilling this is an absolute must, a no brainer.

Riverford Organic Farmers recent rebrand with the catchy ‘Live life on the Veg’ has helped to reestablish them as centre players in the organic veg box market, celebrating the importance of good quality, organic vegetables. And with delivery at the heart of what they do, delivering fresh, organic veg on time is what they must deliver, every time.

Brand – how your customer ‘gets’ your business

So in a nutshell, your brand should underpin everything you do and everything your company stands for. If your own people are living and breathing your brand, your customers will get on board and do the same.

 

 

 

 

EP008 – Sierra Rainge – Limitless Living

CEO of Sierra Rainge Global Enterprises Inc.

Sierra L. Rainge, Best Selling Author, Motivator, Vision Activator, Inspirational speaker, Business Woman and Millennial Success Coach, Wife and mother of two beautiful daughters, is inspiring individuals to recognize resistance, overcome opposition and to ultimately uncover life purpose.

Sierra’s life struggles inspired a purpose-fueled passion for coaching others to pursue greatness despite challenges and hardship. Her personal mission is to plant seeds of positive perspective in all whom she encounters in order to ignite a pursuit of power and purpose for ALL. Her mission to educate, empower and equip others to Live Limitless™ workshops has proven to be transformative and has gave way to a plethora or amazing opportunities.

Content Culture – What?

When I talk with inbound marketers about content creation — specifically, how companies can create a sustainable internal content creation model — our conversations usually go one of two ways.

The first way is an exchange of tactics we’ve both employed to make content creation possible in the long term. The second way is detailing how difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, it is to keep up with the content creation pace they want to live up to.

This blog post is written for those experiencing the latter.

I’ve found that the marketers who are most successful at sustaining a rapid pace of high quality content creation are the ones who have fostered a content culture within their organizations. If you’re starting your own business, growing your marketing department, starting a job at a new company, or just trying to motivate a shift in your company’s attitudes toward content creation , this blog post is going to teach you how you can create a content culture within your company.

Enable anyone to contribute.

Creating content shouldn’t be reserved for just Marketing — or even just a couple people within Marketing. It’s natural to want Marketing to have a hand in the content that goes out, but that doesn’t mean the entire burden needs to fall on your team’s shoulders. Instead, enable anyone in your organization to contribute content, from Sales, to Services, to Development. This is great because you’re getting content that highlights different perspectives and different areas of expertise, both of which make your content arsenal more well-rounded.

To make it easier for everyone to contribute, create guidelines they can follow to make it more likely their content fits your publishing standards. You can even have content specialists on your team who train those extremely interested in contributing content on the types of editorial guidelines the marketing team follows. These folks — your marketing team’s “editors,” if you will — can be the ones who brush up the content you receive so everything that’s published aligns with the tone, style, and other guidelines you’ve established for your brand.

Encourage different content formats.

Just because other employees know they can contribute content, doesn’t mean they’ll feel comfortable doing so. This might stem from the misconception that they have to write like Shakespeare to get published on, say, your company blog.

Poppycock.

Let employees contribute to your blog in ways that best suit their talents. That could mean they create a video, an infographic, a SlideShare presentation, present data they’ve researched, or stick with the written blog post we all know and love.

Explain the benefit of being a published thought leader.

To create a company culture that celebrates content, it’s incumbent on leaders within your organization to communicate the benefits of being a published author. Explain to employees that having content published under their name will help establish themselves as thought leaders. That’s right, even you (Yes! You!) can be a thought leader! Here are a few benefits you can tell them to look forward to, the more they author and publish amazing content:

  • Authoring content gets their name — and how wicked smart they are — visibility with important people, both inside and outside of your organization.
  • Being a published thought leader helps them move upward within the company, and grow their careers.
  • If they’re in a Sales or customer-facing role, it helps establish credibility with leads and customers.
  • The content is a built-in online portfolio they can refer to years down the read.
  • Their content might lead to future opportunities, like speaking engagements, or being quoted as an expert in other publications.

Communicate (and celebrate!) the bottom-line results content drives.

While enabling and encouraging content creation will help get people started, it won’t keep people going in the long term. To keep your entire company enthusiastic about the importance of contributing to content creation efforts, use numbers to communicate the impact it has on your business. Think about how much more meaningful it is to share that a blog post generated 10,000 page views, 50 inbound links, 20 new leads — two of which are poised to close this week — than to say, “Rachel wrote a really cool blog post last month. Good job!”

If your employees can easily see for themselves how their content is directly contributing to important company goals, like hitting Marketing’s leads goal, or Sales hitting their quota, you can bet people will be much more interested in creating content. I mean, how often does someone in, say, Support get to say they had a direct hand in generating new revenue? That’s a pretty good feeling.

Reward your most prolific content creators.

Some content is going to stand out among the rest — maybe it generates an unprecedented number of leads, maybe it gets picked up by a major publication, maybe it even goes viral! Reward the content creator for their innovation and brilliant execution, so you encourage other employees to strive to create this type of content.

Reward these employees by highlighting their content and the specific results it achieved ( numbers are your friends here, marketers ) in a public way. “Public” could mean your next marketing team meeting, your next company meeting, or even in an internal email or newsletter. Just be sure the content creator is present, and preferably some power players in your company, too 😉

Play into people’s competitive spirit.

While fame is all well and good, sometimes a little friendly competition is all you need to get your company into the content creation spirit. For instance, let’s say you’re interested in getting more content about a particular subject matter on your blog to prepare for a product launch. Hold a contest to see who can write the blog post on that subject matter that gets, say, the most views, and reward the winner with a gift certificate. With a friendly competition like this, you’re winning on all fronts. You’ll get a higher volume of content, from a diverse set of people, on a subject matter that aligns with your goals; employees will get their name in flashing lights, some more thought leadership attached to their name, and maybe, a little moolah, too. In fact, we’ve seen this tactic work well in our favor to encourage contributions to this very blog!

Lead by example.

Finally, remember that your company culture comes from the top down. If you want to foster a culture that encourages content creation, that needs to come from the top down, too. Employees will model executives’ behavior. So if the CMO isn’t blogging, some people might still blog; but if the CMO does create content on a regular basis, can you imagine how deep any other employee would have to dig to come up with the excuse for not also contributing? Pretty darn deep, I imagine.

How do you foster a culture of content creators in your company?

 

EP007 – Darrell Muhammad – Recharge Your Investments

Darrell has over 30 years of experience in the areas of marketing, sales, investments, financial empowerment, real estate investing, personal development, business development, online marketing, network marketing, wealth creation and entrepreneurship. He’s proud to call his self a serial entrepreneur.

His latest projects are Black Wealth Empowerment and his daily live stream “The Money Game” and he has devoted over two decades studying and applying what he has learned from the most successful people in business and life.